INHERENT VICE
2014, Warner Bros., 148 min, USA, Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon neo-noir novel owes as much to Cheech & Chong as to THE BIG SLEEP. Stoner private eye Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix, in an industrial-strength mullet) winds his way through three interrelated cases in 1970 Los Angeles after an ex-girlfriend (Katherine Waterston) turns up at his door. Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone and Martin Short round out the amazing cast. “Anderson has superbly captured Pynchon’s laconic, gently surreal tone, which permeates the film as thoroughly as the hazy SoCal light of Robert Elswit’s gorgeous 35mm cinematography.” – Scott Foundas, Variety


TWO LOVERS
2008, Magnolia Pictures, 108 min, USA, Dir: James Gray

Director James Gray reunites with Joaquin Phoenix (star of the director's THE YARDS and WE OWN THE NIGHT) for a romantic drama about the impetuousness of desire vs. the comfort of love. Phoenix plays Leonard, an emotionally wounded man torn between two women: Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow), a mysterious and beautiful neighbor, and Sandra, the lovely and caring daughter of a businessman who is buying out his family's dry-cleaning business. Leonard becomes deeply infatuated with Michelle at the same time that mounting pressure from his family pushes him toward committing to Sandra, forcing him into an impossible decision. With Vinessa Shaw, Isabella Rossellini, John Ortiz and Moni Moshonov.


THE IMMIGRANT
2013, The Weinstein Company, 120 min, USA, Dir: James Gray

This Palme d'Or nominee from director James Gray was largely inspired by his grandparents’ experiences coming to America in 1923. Marion Cotillard stars as Ewa, a Polish immigrant whose sister is quarantined when the two arrive at Ellis Island. Desperate to help her sister, Ewa soon is caught between small-time pimp Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) and his cousin, Emil (Jeremy Renner). Outstanding performances and striking cinematography (by Darius Khondji) bring the period’s gritty reality to life much better than any history book.


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